How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program Pleasant Grove 35127
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Pleasant Grove AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Pleasant Grove AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Pleasant Grove AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Pleasant Grove AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Pleasant Grove AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Pleasant Grove AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pleasant Grove AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Pleasant Grove AL program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Pleasant Grove AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Pleasant Grove AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pleasant Grove AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Pleasant Grove home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pleasant Grove AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Pleasant Grove AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Pleasant Grove Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
It was established in 1889, but incorporated as a city in January 1937. The incorporation came about by reason of a rather unusual circumstance. The town sits on land honeycombed by coal mines. For many years the residents had relied on water wells for their water supply. As years passed and more mining was done, Pleasant Grove found itself confronted with a problem. Residents would sometimes go to their well to draw water only to find there was none. The water had gone into the mines.
During the mid to late 30s, the Federal Government had a program for financing the building of local water systems. In exploring the possibility of securing such funds, it was revealed that in order to secure such financing a community must be legally incorporated. At this time the incorporation became a reality.
The first appointed Mayor of Pleasant Grove was W.P. Stone. The city is governed by a mayor and five council members who serve four-year terms. Elections for city officials is held during the summer of each leap year with four-year terms beginning the first Monday in October. The area known as Pleasant Grove, Alabama was first homesteaded in September 1836. Pleasant Grove is in Jefferson County. Although no one seems to know when or exactly how the town came by its name, old documents indicate that at least part of this area was called Pleasant Grove as early as 1884. Pleasant Grove was made up of four communities which included Frog Pond, Lizard Ridge, Cottage Hill, and Pleasant Grove.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Pleasant Grove AL
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in How To Get Into Interior Design. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pleasant Grove AL.
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